packed libraryIn 2014 I read 42 books, fiction and non-fiction, some of genre interest, some not. I also read around short stories, some of those in anthologies, more in Interzone, Black Static and other magazines, print or online. Additionally I read countless interviews, articles, magazine features, news reports and social media posts. And that’s to say nothing about all the manuscripts I worked on in my day job. So for this and my next post on Amazing Stories I will be providing a short recap of my 2014 in books. Where I reviewed a book for Amazing Stories I have provided a link to that review, and in one case to a related interview. So here, in chronological order, with brief comments, are the first 21 books I read in 2014.

The Prisoner of Heaven – Carlos Ruiz Zafón: A very disappointing third visit to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.

Christopher Nolan: A Labyrinth of Linkages – David Bordwell: As the title implies, a very interactive ebook examination of the films of Christopher Nolan (not including Interstellar). Serious film writing at its best. You can buy a copy here direct from the author for $1.99.

Shantarum – Gregory David Roberts: An epic novel which reads like an autobiography, and thus while utterly fascinating and hugely compelling, doesn’t quite work as either.

Naomi’s Room – Jonathan Aycliffe: A very dark, classic modern ghost story.

The Silence of Ghosts – Jonathan Aycliffe: A very flawed but interesting modern ghost story.

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle – Chris Hedges: A revealing look behind the curtain at the modern American Dream.

The Shelter – James Everington: A strong novella under the influence of Stephen King.
The Other Room – James Everington: An excellent collection of strange and weird fiction by an up and coming writer. Click here for my interview with James Everington.

The Perils and Dangers of This Night – Stephen Gregory: Good Gothic thriller set in a closed English boarding school on Christmas in the 1960s.

House of Small Shadows – Adam Nevill: The best new horror novel I read all year.

Europe in Autumn – Dave Hutchinson: For 95% of the page count, an imaginative, highly detailed, satirical near future SF set in a highly Balkanized Europe. Vital stuff. But then it sets up a sequel without delivering a satisfactory ending to the existing story. I get really frustrated by books which are sold as complete novels with no indication on the cover that they are actually part of, or the beginning of, a series.

The Moon King – Neil Williamson: A fantastic fantasy debut.

Noir, ed Ian Whates: A very strong collection of dark new SF, fantasy and horror.

La Femme, ed Ian Whates: Twin volume to the above, and just as strong.

The Woman in Black – Susan Hill: Terrific modern ghost story. Surely it needs no introduction.

Carrie – Stephen King: Re-read for the third or fourth time. King at his best is simply brilliant.

Extreme Metaphors – J.G. Ballard: Another labyrinth of linkages; an extensive collection of interviews with one of the 20th century’s finest writers, inside and outside the genre.

Hairy London – Stephen Palmer: A head trip if ever there was one. The madcap British author at his most eccentrically inventive.

Beyond the Rift – Peter Watts: A strong collection of dark science fiction stories conceived by a powerful imagination and argued with rigor.

Apartment 16 – Adam Nevill: The titular apartment might be in the middle of London, but I think I’d feel safer spending the night at the Overlook Hotel. Relentlessly gripping horror from Britain’s answer to Stephen King.

Dreamside – Graham Joyce: The first novel by the much missed British novelist who died in 2014. Far from his best, but packed with great ideas. Joyce left a fine legacy of outstanding dark fantasy fiction.

 

Next time I’ll conclude my look back at my reading in 2014.

…is a freelance editor, writing consultant and story structure expert. To find out more, including hiring me to work on your writing project, read my profile or visit my website, To The Last Word.

 

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